Buenas tardes, querida familia.
It must come as quite a surprise to you that I'm actually writing on Monday for once. It's the first time in a while that there haven't been other happenings that have kept us from writing on our normal P-Day. But here I am! I haven't heard from many of you, but I'm sure it's just for the sudden change from the norm. But regardless, I have to write now, so I'll read the rest next week I suppose. In response to your question, Mom, I always read everything I have in my inbox right there, which often takes away time from writing, yes, but I enjoy it. I could print whatever and read it later, but it's a hastle and costly, so I don't do it. So as far as reading old letters goes, I've got em all saved in my email account so I can read them on P-Day when I want to.
Glad to hear that Dad's doing so much better now. I was pretty bummed to hear about the injury but happy to know he's up and running again, and proud of Jennifer for being such a boss and running the 15k! Way to go! Speaking of sports, how're the olympics? I think of all the television programs I've missed in the past 10 months, the olympics is the hardest one for me to miss. I love it. But every now and then it's playing in stores and stuff so I can catch a few gymnastic routines. Thank you for sending the thermals! Those will definitely help a ton during the day. It's been dang cold here this past week, and I sleep in lots of clothes, with my hoody over my head to keep my ears warm and my blankets over my head to keep my face warm. I'm pretty pumped for spring to start soon.
Dad, I think I can help you out. Looks like the street is called Arturo Prat, and the apartment is in the corner of arturo prat with Matta. It's part of a city square that's right next to the plaza. Hope that helps.
My companion is pretty awesome. I was going to tell you a little more about him last week. Here goes. He's from a city named Bucaramanga, Colombia and is 22 years old. He does in fact speak very diferently. Like a mix between Spanish and Jamaican, with very rounded vowels. His parents were converts, and he was baptised along with them when he was around 8 years old. He's got another brother who's two years younger who's also on a mission in Antofagasta, Chile. They left at the same time. Elder Aparicio, after completing high school, served in the Colombian army for two years. He's got 15 months in the mission and was the last missionary in Carahue before I got there! Neat! We get along super well, and I'm having a blast with him. It's funny, because he reminds me a TON of Austin Chardac. Like, he's seriously Austin's Latin double, only with less musical talent. What I'm learning most from Elder Aparicio is how to truly focus on the needs of the people teach. Elder Aparicio is a missionary that really gets the big picture. He's not here (primarily) for duty, or for glory, or for self-gain, or any thing else. He's here because he's humble, and has a true testimony of the redeeming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He knows that baptising is important, but not the most important. What counts is someone who gains a personal testimony of the Savior, who repents of their sins and has a change of heart. He's taught me a lot of things that I think I always knew in theory, but not in practice, and in only these past two weeks, I've learned how to have more faith in the power of God, to not doubt the sheer reality of His work and His glory, and especially not to doubt in the goodness of people, and their God-given ability to change. He's taught me how to teach with greater power and authority, as the representatives of Jesus Christ that we are, having been called of God to this ministry. And it's been an absolute blast these weeks working together with him to help the Zone of Coronel gain the same vision of this great work and to give themselves 100 percent to the Lord.
This week, my goal is to try and be more charitable. Yesterday in church, there was a talk that really struck home with me. In our branch, there's a wonderful man named Omar who (I don't know why), doesn't have legs, so he gets around in a wheel chair. Well the man giving the talk spoke about how he was at the church the other day, just getting out of an interview, and so was Omar. He looked at him with a certain sense of compasion, knowing how tough and dangerous the road is where Omar lives, and how he could help. But soon he remembered how busy he was that evening, how he needed to go home and make food, and other chores, and rationalized that Omar is a strong man and independent, he can take care of himself. Then another man named Javier, a recent convert with a big heart, who also knew how dangerous and tough the road is where Omar lives, offered to accompany him home. The man who gave the talk was moved by the example of Javier, who selflessly looked upon his brother in the faith and said, "Yo te acompaño, porque sé que el camino es duro." Or in other words, "I'll go with you, because I know the road is hard." Upon hearing these words, I instantly thought about the example of our Savior, who lived a life of service, who suffered and died to make our burden lighter. He really knows, and He understands. And how often He says those very words, "I'll go with you, because I know the road is hard." I am eternally grateful for the example of the Son of God, who showed us the meaning of charity and compassion. I want to be more like that, and without hesitance or justification repeat those very words to as many as are in need of them, "Yo te acompaño, porque sé que el camino es duro." My invitation to all these week is that we can search for opportunities to offer service to someone in need. Every small act of kindness goes a long way.
I love you all very much, and am grateful for your example to me. Till next time, keeping it real in Lota,
At the top of a giant hill that we climb at least once every day (we live in the valley between the hills.)
Another pair of very high quality socks.
Another one on top of the world.